Jun 4, 2010

Another Dusty Dirty Weekend - LOORRS

Another dusty dirty weekend spent shooting Lucas Oil Offroad Racing! Nothing gets me more excited than big trucks, loud engines, dirt and cute flat billin' boys!

After walking through the course, I was not to crazy about the awful backgrounds. My personal goal for myself was to keep it as clean and shoot as low or high as possible.

I'm a sucker for slow pans, especially with such awful backgrounds, so I played around with those during practice.

I just love this photo of Johnny Greaves all compressed after hitting a jump.

After shooting a bunch there, I made my way to another turn where I was feeling artsy.

Back up in my favorite turn, I did some more slow shutter speed shots as the trucks came sliding into the turn.

When you turned around from this position, you were looking down at the trucks as they were coming out of a turn and heading up the hill. When the sun was in the right spot, it made for some nice photos.

I love how the mud is flying all around Unlimited 4 driver Michael Johnson's truck.

Evidently, I'm attracted to Unlimited 4 driver Johnny Greaves truck...Here's a good example of getting different photos from the same position.

When the buggies ran, I changed positions again. Shooting into the sun I was able to get a few moody shots. I found that you can't shoot these in the beginning of the race since they water down the track before each race, therefore you had to a wait a few laps.

When the Pro 2 Unlimited's started, the Las Vegas skyline made for a perfect final touch for the background.

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Apr 28, 2010

Another long weekend at Fonana NASCAR

Fontana NASCAR Blog - Images by Jennifer Stewart

It has been some time since I have last updated my blog, my apologies. I've been so busy lately living the life! Fontana NASCAR is where I left off and boy was that an eventful trip!

During Sprint Cup practice, I made my way to an elevated position where the cars would be driving right underneath me. It makes for a cool shot of the cars you do not see too often.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton.

I was given the opportunity to work with an editor from Las Vegas who was doing a few stories on a couple of different drivers. One, in particular, happens to be one of my favorite drivers, Tony Stewart.

As we were outside his trailer, I saw Jimmie Johnson walk by so I quickly darted over to catch a few shots of him.

Back outside the trailer a fan bumped into me while I about to switch lenses and a 24-70 went flying out of my hand and landed on the front of the lens. I was speechless. All I could think was F*CK!! Not only was this going to be my primary lens for this shoot, but it was borrowed from Richard Quattrocchi. Sure as crap the lens looked shattered.

Once in the trailer I was fighting back the tears. I was trying to take the lens filter off to see what the damage was, but the filters was so bent and shattered I could not twist it off. Tony looks over at me and asked what was wrong, all I could do was show him what happened. He grabbed the lens from me and went to work.

Here's a detailed view of the front of the lens.

As he was working on the lens, one of his crew members asked if Tony was the one who broke my lens, hahaha, not this time!

After a good 10 minutes, he was able to remove the filter and thankfully the actual glass was unharmed. Only costed me a new filter. Thanks Tony! :)

I was very please with how the shots turned out. Tony is very fun and animated guy.

Limited on so many head shot options, I was forced to think outside the box.

Once we were finished, I had to get a photo with him. FYI fellow photogs ::MARK:: always remember to take off your photo vest, it makes a huge difference and you'll be glad you did.

Saturday morning I got experience the much anticipated Danica Mania! She is one tough cookie to get a photo of. She's always swarmed by hundreds of photographers or her entourage is yelling at us to keep away. But I was able to pop off a few shots as I dodged and weaved my little self through the crowds.

NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick during qualifying.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya was hanging out during practice, so I crawled right up to him to pop a few shots off.

Here I caught another photographers flash which lit up NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin face real nicely.

Shot from pit road, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kyle Busch celebrates after winning the Stater Brothers 300.

Kyle was all smiles at Victory Lane.

Sunday was another long day at the track. I started bright and early with my editor on a shoot with Kyle Busch. While I did not know what to expect from Kyle, I quickly learned what a down to earth guy he was.

While we were on his golf cart, Kyle saw a group of fans who were sporting his gear. He told his driver to stop over at their camp so he could make a surprise appearance then signed some autographs.

Prior to the Cup race I went searching for some feature shots. It was a bit rainy all morning, so I camped out at a small puddle for a few waiting for a car to come by.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch and fiance
Samantha Sarcinella during the National Anthem.

And the race begins!

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Pable Montoya (42) follows a pack of cars.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle.

And finally NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson celebrates after winning the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway.

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Feb 24, 2010

NHRA 50th Anniversary Winternationals

NHRA Pomona Winternationals - Images by Jennifer Stewart
I've heard so much about the Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA. The history, the museum but primarily about the great light. When I found out I was to shoot it, I was very excited. Looking back through my photos, as I was preparing them for this blog, I honestly feel as a photographer, that I truly stepped up my game. I know the sport better now and am more comfortable with my Nikon gear.  I am proud to say that this was one of my best shoots yet.

Friday was a pretty low key day. Will Lester and I played around in the garage for a few. If you have never been to an NHRA event, then I'm not sure you can truly appreciate this. In the garage/pits the fans walk up and down the isles of vehicles waiting for the sound of an engine to roar. Once they hear it, they run over to the back of the vehicle and stand in the cloud of exhaust and fumes. For those of you who don't understand why they are covering their faces, well nitro fumes are by far the worst smell around. Your eyes tear up and you can't breath.

As you can see below, funny car driver Tony Pedregon, and his crew, wear gas masks while they do they do this. These fans are intense!!

When qualifying began, I made my way to top end. Didn't take long for some action. NHRA top fuel dragster driver Andy Carter engine explodes.

As the sun was setting, I was finally able to witness the beautiful light all the photographers speak of. Funny car driver Del Worsham.

Not too long later, NHRA funny car driver Terry Haddock (left) catches fire while racing along side Ron Capps during qualifying.

Saturday morning I was really feeling it. Once I was geared up, I made my way to the pits to work my butt off!

NHRA top fuel dragster driver Brandon Bernstein with his new sponsor Copart prior to qualifying.

NHRA funny car driver Bob Bode sits in his car prior to qualifying.

NHRA funny car driver Jack Beckman points at me as he sits in the staging lanes.

NHRA funny car driver Robert Hight prior to qualifying.

Starting my day at the starting line, I made it a point to shoot every car differently.

A slow pan for NHRA funny car driver Robert Hight as he does a burn out during qualifying.

Since it was the 50th Anniversary Winternationals, I had to incorporate the theme. Here's NHRA funny car driver Terry Haddock doing a burn out.

Then I spot a drain hole in the k walls and shoot NHRA funny car driver Paul Lee doing his burn out.

I'm a sucker for Ron Capps NAPA car, so I had to try it one more time for him. There were no guarantees for these shots, but I was surprisingly happy with the outcome.

While waiting for the pro cars to race, Will Lester and I were chatting when some competition eliminators were wrapping up their session. They are much quieter than the bigger vehicles and at top end, you can't hear them take off.  

All of a sudden out of the corner of both or our eyes, we see Tyler Hogan make a sharp left! We both shout, "OH SHIT!" Grab our cameras and start shooting! My first few frames were out of focus but I still nailed a few shots.

NHRA alcohol dragster driver Brittney Force rides with father funny car driver John Force during qualifying

As it started to get dark and the cars slowly became silhouettes, funny car driver Terry Haddock put off some nice flames to lighten things up.

I love the sparks!

At this point in the evening, I should have moved to get some sweet flame shots from the starting line, but I also liked how the cars were silhouetted and you couldn't see much but the flames.

Funny car driver John Force's parachutes make a great pattern in the air.

Sunday morning they had all the old school "Woody" station wagons lined up for a pre race parade. I actually rode in one of them, but didn't get anything I was that excited about.

On my way back to through the pits, I heard fans cheering as John Force signed some autographs.

After driver announcements, Antron Brown struck a pose for me.

Up at top end for the first round of eliminations, the heat waves were awful and it made it difficult for images to look in focus as you can see with funny car driver Bob Tasca (left) racing along side Melanie Troxel.

I made my way to the stands.

Then to the other side of the stands for round 3.

It also had a great view of the mountains behind it.

Finally to top end for the final round. What's fun about this, is you can shoot the cars running their race, then put down your gear and run over to where the drivers get out of their cars to celebrate.

John Force got a cold congratulations!

NHRA pro stock driver Mike Edwards (left), top fuel dragster driver Larry Dixon, funny car driver John Force celebrates on the podium following the Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway.

Being at the right place at the right time, is always nice. As I was getting ready to transmit the rest of my photos for the even, John Force walks right by me. I just love this shot.

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